When the calendar flips to October, we can be sure two things will change: the leaves will turn orange and the NFL will turn pink.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For a whole month the NFL decks out every piece of equipment—from caps to compression sleeves to gloves—in pink to increase ‘awareness.’
Honestly, whoever doesn’t know about breast cancer already isn’t going to learn about it from sports.
I’m not saying promoting Breast Cancer Awareness is a bad thing, though. Every sport does some form of pink game. It’s just how the NFL goes about doing it that I don’t like.
For example, MLB does their promotion on Mother’s Day. The pink items, like bats and gloves, are not for sale but instead auctioned off with a majority of the proceeds going to a good cause. That’s the right way to do it: one day, one event. Going Pink for a month is like beating a dead Bronco.
Still, the promotion can be effective.
Pink definitely catches the eye because it clashes with every single team’s colors and hovers over everything like a pink nebulous reminder to be ‘aware.’
The real problem is that in the NFL the whole exercise does nothing to actually help find a cure, instead it simply makes consumers feel good about ‘helping’ and makes the NFL feel good about making money.
The whole point of Pinktober isn’t really about raising awareness as the League says; it’s about selling merchandise.
The NFL goes beyond pink equipment and decks out things that consumers buy in pink as well. Pink hats, pink jerseys, pink shirts—NFLShop.com has a whole section just for pink merchandise. The problem with this is that the focus then becomes the product and not the cause.
I know the news that the NFL is doing something purely for profit is shocking, and in your shocked state of mind you might counter with the argument that the money goes to a good cause. You would be right, but only barely.
Only five percent of all profits from the sale of NFL Breast Cancer Awareness products actually goes to the American Cancer Society. And further, not all money the ACS gets goes to finding a cure. So less than five dollars out of every $100 spent on NFL Merchandise actually goes to finding a cure. That’s the real travesty.
The NFL is actively misleading its fans into thinking their money is going to a good cause instead of to the coffers of the NFL.
The NFL isn’t supporting a good cause. It’s making money off of breast cancer.